Messi and Neymar finalists for the Ballon d’Or

Messi, left, and Neymar will be vying for the 2015 Ballon d'Or. / FCB GRAPHIC DESIGN
The two FC Barcelona players will face off with Cristiano Ronaldo for the award for world’s best player in 2015.

Lionel Messi and Neymar Jr. have been named as two of three finalists for the 2015 FIFA Ballon d’Or. On Monday, FIFA announced the names of three finalists from among 23 semi-finalists who had been previously announced. The other Barça semi-finalists were Luis Suárez, Andrés Iniesta, Ivan Rakitic and Javier Mascherano. The winner will be announced on 11 January at a gala to be held in Monaco.

In 2015, Messi and Neymar were the main drivers of FC Barcelona’s success, forming the so-called trident alongside Suárez. The pair led Barça to the second treble in club history after winning the League the Copa del Rey and the Champions League.

Ninth podium for Messi

Leo Messi’s four Ballons d’Or are the most in history, which he won consecutively from 2009 to 2012. Messi has now made the final three nine times. Since 2007, when he was third, he has never been left off the podium.

In 2015, Messi played 48 games across all competitions, starting 45 of them, and scoring a total of 44 goals to go along with 21 assists.

Neymar’s first shot

In his third season at FC Barcelona, Neymar has made the Ballon d’Or podium for the first time, making him among the three best players in the world, according to FIFA. He is the first Brazilian finalist since Kaká won it in 2007.

Neymar earned this recognition after an impeccable 2015, during which he played 50 games — in the League, the Copa del Rey and Champions League — starting 49 of them and scoring 41 goals to go along with 12 assists.